Kim Yo-jong

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Kim Yo-jong
Kim Yo-jong at Blue House.jpg
Kim Yo-jong at Blue House on February 10, 2018
Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea
Assumed office
24 July 2015
Leader Kim Jong-un
Preceded by Kim Ki-nam
Personal details
Born (1987-09-26) 26 September 1987 (age 30)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Nationality North Korean
Alma mater Kim Il-sung Military University
Signature Signature of Kim Yo-jong
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 김여정
Hancha 金與正
Revised Romanization Gim Yeojeong
McCune–Reischauer Kim Yŏjŏng

Kim Yo-jong (Korean: 김여정, born 26 September 1987)[1] is the younger sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un and youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il. She is an alternate member of the Politburo (Political Bureau) and the Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

Personal life

Kim Yo-jong was born the daughter of Kim Jong-il and his wife Ko Yong-hui on 26 September 1987.[1] She and her brother, Kim Jong-un, are said to have a close relationship[2], due to shared isolated years while studying together in Switzerland from 1996 to 2000, and in North Korea, "where social and emotional isolation appears to have been a defining force in their early lives"[3] possibly because their father Kim Jong-Il wanted to bring them up away from the influence of his father Kim Il-sung.[4] She may have studied at the Kim Il-sung Military University after her return.[1] She also studied computer science at Kim Il-sung University where she is said to have studied with Kim Eun-gyong, the daughter of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota.[5]

In January 2015, she reportedly married Choe Song,[6] the second son of government official Choe Ryong-hae.[7] However, South Korean government sources have since denied the accuracy of these reports. Kim Yo-jong was expecting a child in May 2015. The father, not identified, is thought to be a fellow alumnus of Kim Il-sung university and either an official at Room 39 of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) or working at a military unit responsible for guarding the country's leader.[8]


She was first spotted at a photo session for participants at the 3rd Conference of the WPK (ko) in September 2010, when she stood next to her father's personal secretary and alleged mistress Kim Ok.[9]

Kim Yo-jong was given much publicity during the funeral service for Kim Jong-il in December 2011, when she appeared several times alongside her brother Kim Jong-un or leading funeral processions of central officials, despite not even being a funeral committee member, and she was never named. She was then reportedly given a position under the National Defence Commission at the beginning of 2012 as tour manager for Kim Jong-un,[10] but has not appeared in news reports except for November 2012, when the Korean Central Television showed her accompanying Kim Jong-un at a military riding ground.[11] She was officially mentioned for the first time on 9 March 2014, as she accompanied her brother in voting for the Supreme People's Assembly. Kim Yo-jong was identified as a "senior official" of the WPK Central Committee.[12]

Sources indicate that Kim Jong-un may be grooming Kim Yo-jong to replace their aunt Kim Kyong-hui (with whom Kim Yo-jong is said to have a good relationship[9]) in her supporting role.[13]

In October 2014, she was reported to have possibly taken over state duties for her ailing brother while he underwent medical treatment.[14]

On 28 November 2014, she was named vice director of the Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD),[15] taking full charge of this department on 24 July 2015, when she replaced Kim Ki-nam.[16] She also holds a vice-ministerial post, but her portfolio is not known.[8] She regularly accompanies Kim Jong-un on his "field guidance" trips.[17]

She has been said to be the driving force behind the development of her brother's cult of personality, modelled after that of their grandfather, Kim Il-sung.[3] This would help explain changes in the way state policies are depicted in the media, as well as differences in reporting.[3] Thae Yong-ho, a North Korean defector and former diplomat, said in 2017 that Kim Yo-jong organised all major public events in North Korea. Kim Yo-jong was said to have encouraged her brother to present an image of a "man of the people" with, for example, rides on fairground attractions and his friendship with the basketball star Dennis Rodman.[18][19]

In January 2017, she was placed on the US Treasury's Specially Designated Nationals List in response to human rights abuses in North Korea.[20]

In 2017, Kim Yo-jong was made an alternate member of the politburo,[21] only the second woman to be appointed to this decision-making body.[22] Her ascension to the country's supreme governing body may indicate that she is Kim Jong-un’s replacement for his aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, who has not played an active role in his regime.[23] It has also been hinted that her newly assigned position would also put her in charge of the State Security Department.[24]

Kim Yo-jong on the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

On 9 February 2018, Kim attended the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This was the first time that a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited South Korea since the Korean War.[25] She attended the meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on 10 February, and revealed she was dispatched as a special envoy of Kim Jong-un and delivered a personally written letter from Kim to Moon.[26]

According to Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, and others, the promotion of Kim Yo-jong and others is a sign that "the Kim Jong-un regime has ended its co-existence with the remnants of the previous Kim Jong-il regime by carrying out a generational replacement in the party’s key elite posts".[19][27] Newsweek's Tom O'Connor echoed this opinion, writing that Kim Yo-jong's rise to power was part of Kim Jong-un's overall plan to appoint younger people in place of his father's older elites who may have harboured doubts about the younger Kim Jong-un's ability to lead North Korea.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Kim Yo Jong". North Korea Leadership Watch. May 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "Kim Yo Jong: Who is the North Korean leader's mysterious sister? | News | DW | 08.10.2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  3. ^ a b c "North Korea's New Propagandist?". 38 North. 2015-08-14. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  4. ^ a b O'Connor, Tom (2018-02-09). "Who is Kim Jong Un's sister? Kim Jo Yong is becoming North Korea's most powerful woman". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-02-10. 
  5. ^ Kim Hee-Jin (March 19, 2014). "Abductee's daughter is favorite of Kim's sister". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ (2 January 2015) Kim Jong Un’s Little Sister Married Son of Top Regime Official, Report Says Wall Street Journal, Asia, Retrieved 16 January 2015
  7. ^ "NK leader's sister weds son of Choe Ryong-hae: sources". Yonhap News Agency. 
  8. ^ a b "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Kim Jong-un's Sister to Have Baby in May". Chosun Ilbo. April 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "KJI Youngest Daughter Working as Events Manager for KJU?". North Korea Leadership Watch. South Korea. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Kim Yo-jung is believed to have studied abroad and to share her older brother's ambition". South Korea: Hankyoreh. 22 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "North Korea Newsletter No. 237". South Korea: Yonhap News Agency. 22 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kim Jong Un Visits Kim Il Sung University of Politics and Takes Part in Election of Deputy to SPA". North Korea (site in Japan): Korean Central News Agency. 9 March 2014. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "Kim Jong-un 'preparing to purge aunt'". The Telegraph. United Kingdom. 6 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Silva, Cristina (2 October 2014). "Has Kim Yo-Jong Taken Over For Kim Jong Un? Sister Assumes North Korea State Duties While Brother Undergoes Medical Treatment". International Business Times. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  15. ^ North Korea's 'princess' moves closer to center of power
  16. ^ "Kim Jong-un's sister promoted to run 'idolisation projects' in North Korea". The Guardian. UK. 24 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "N. Korea's Kim Jong-un executed 15 top officials: S. Korea spy agency". Yahoo! News. AFP. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Sherwell, Phillip (2017-01-08). "Sister helps Kim strut his stuff as key missile test looms". The Times. Retrieved 2017-02-15. (Registration required (help)). 
  19. ^ a b McCurry, Justin (2017-10-09). "Meet Kim Yo-jong, the sister who is the brains behind Kim Jong-un's image". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-01-08. 
  20. ^ "U.S. blacklists North Korean officials over rights abuses". Reuters. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  21. ^ "Kim Jong Un praises nuclear program, promotes sister to center of power". Reuters. 8 October 2017. 
  22. ^ Gale, Alastair (2018-02-09). "Behind the Rapid Rise of Kim Jong Un's Younger Sister". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-02-10. 
  23. ^ McCurry, Justin (2017-10-09). "Meet Kim Yo-jong, the sister who is the brains behind Kim Jong-un's image". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  24. ^ "Kim Jong-un 'Puts Sister in Charge of State Security'". Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  25. ^ Haas, Benjamin (9 February 2018). "US vice-president skips Olympics dinner in snub to North Korea officials". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-09. 
  26. ^ "South Korean president invited to North Korea". koreatimes. 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2018-02-11. 
  27. ^ "Kim Jong-un's sister sits just yards from the tyrant after promotion". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-01-08. 
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